It’s not uncommon to see racing participants switch codes-particularly in recent years.
Grant Williams and Justin Warwick are high-profile examples. Former accomplished harness racing trainers and drivers who have made a successful transition to thoroughbred training.
Former top apprentice, Michael Grantham, who rode 97 winners in a 16-month career, turned to harness driving after a weight battle forced him out of the saddle.
However; it is a rare event in modern day Australian racing history to have a reinswoman prepared to swap the sulky for a set of jockey silks.
But after two years following in the footsteps of her father, 20-year-old, Maddison Brown, is set to trail blaze a new career path.
“I would like to do my jockey apprenticeship,” Brown said.
“I have been thinking about it for about three years.
“I just quit my job at Murdoch Hospital and I’m looking at options.
“Now seems the right time to give it a go with a bit of free time.
“Hopefully I can be in saddle in the near future.”
If Brown requires an insight into the life of a jockey she doesn’t have to venture too far, with her partner, Michael Grantham, providing sage advice.
Grantham, who rode his last race on Lee Rani in 2012, retired after the ravages of dieting and wasting played physical havoc on his body.
After displaying initial reluctance he is now firmly entrenched behind Brown’s move.
“When I first started dating Michael he was against it because he didn’t want me to go through all the weight issues that he went through,” Brown said.
“But I’m quite light and sit at around 51kg. He has since come around and is right behind me getting involved if I’m prepared to give it a 100 per cent.”
Brown has one more mini hurdle to overcome. She has yet to have a conversation with her father, one of the leading figures in Western Australian harness racing.
Colin Brown sits in exalted company as a reinsman, his 2827 wins second only to Western Australian Racing Hall Of Fame inductee, Chris Lewis.
“I haven’t sat down with dad or mum and exactly mapped out my plans, but it is something we have discussed previously and I’m sure they won’t be surprised,” Brown said.
“I’m certain dad would like me to remain involved with harness racing or even take up something different like university.
“But I know he will support me in anything I choose to do.”
Maddison Brown has driven more than 70 winners since making her debut at Northam two years ago.
Her first Gloucester Park victory arrived courtesy of her father’s horse, Old McDonald, in March, 2015.
RWWA: Julio Santarelli